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W.C. Fields reference now in paperback

W.C. Fields
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W.C. Fields - An Annotated Guide now in softcover


David T. Rock's outstanding 1994 reference "W.C. Fields - A Annotated Guide" is now in affordable softcover from McFarland and Company, publishers. Sub-titled "Chronology, Biographies, Discography, Filmographies, Press Books, Cigarette Cards, Film Clips, and Impersonators," it is the most thorough reference of Fieldsian facts available. To gather this much information via internet searches would take months. Rocks has done the labor and compiled it in this indispensible book.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this reference is the chronological list of Fields' work on stage, from his earliest appearance in the 1890s through his guest spots after he'd achieved movie stardom. Naturally this includes Fields' work in the Ziegfeld follies during the twenties. Also quite interesting is his work on radio. He had his own Chase and Sanborn-sponsored show that ran for several weeks, but this reference also offers guest appearances on other shows. It isn't simply a title list. The author includes full statistical information for each entry.

While it does include a filmography, this is not the place to go for complete information about the movies. Complete cast and credit info is not given for each title, only principal players, studio, director, and running time. The author does indicate if Fields penned the script. However the list of cartoons in which a Fields character appears is quite impressive, running 18 films from 1934-1953.

Some of the truly interesting information includes things that are rarely compiled in other reference sources, like a complete listing of every recording on which Fields appears, or a list of the old cigarette cards where he is represented. Films that use clips of his work, a listing of noted Fields impersonators (omitting Richard Dawson's comic turns on the old Laugh-In series) and TV specials that include his work, round out the reference.

The amount of material here is truly impressive, and will be of enormous help to anyone researching and writing about W.C. Fields. Recommended for all libraries and research centers, especially those that have a strong section on media studies.